Dhaka, Bangladesh
Business environment needs to be improved

CCIFB leaders at the monthly meet

Business environment needs to be improved

News Report: Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Md Sirazul Islam on Thursday said that they would implement major reforms to improve Bangladesh's ranking in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. He was speaking at the monthly luncheon meeting of the France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) at a city hotel on Thursday. Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Md Sirajul Islam presented the keynote paper at the seminar. He said the government is working hard to improve business environment with a view to attracting FDI in the country. "Bangladesh is currently ranked 177 among 190 countries in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business Index. Bida has set an ambitious target of bringing major reforms to ease the process of doing business in the country, which has attained steady economic growth in recent years and will hopefully come out of the LDC (least developed countries) group very soon, said Md Sirazul Islam. Bangladesh will improve the environment of doing business to become a middle income country by 2021, said Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam. He added that the country should take the World Bank's ease of doing business index ranking to double digits from the existing 168. The index ranks economies from 1 to 190, with the top ranked country being the best. A higher rank, indicated by a lower numerical value, means that the regulatory environment in that country is favourable for businesses. "BIDA is trying to ease the process of starting up a business and providing related services within the shortest possible time. We are providing registrations to investors within one day." Laying emphasis on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), he expected that the country would become one of the alternative dispute resolution-friendly nations within the region. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) encompasses a range of options, falling between litigation and arbitration on the one hand and negotiation on the other, for effective resolution of disputes. French Ambassador in Bangladesh Jean-Marin SCHUH laid emphasis on improving business environment and 'ease of doing business' in a bid to attract more French investment in Bangladesh. He was speaking as special guest at the monthly luncheon meeting of the France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) at a city hotel on Thursday. In his brief speech, the French Ambassador expressed the views government organisations should speed up process of taking decision to give impetus to the business. Not hiding his perception about the existing the business environment, French diplomat said business environment in Bangladesh needs to be improved. 'Our FDI in Bangladesh remains still weak but several projects of investments still awaits official approvals, the French diplomat said. In 2018, France was only ranked 29th on foreign direct investment in Bangladesh, and 7th among EU member states, our stock stands around 40 million USD, less than 0.4% of total stock of FDI in Bangladesh. LAFARGE has been bought by the Swiss HOLCIM in July 2015 and is no more to be considered as a French investment. SANOFI has announced in October 2019 its intentions to sell its shares in the pharma operation it has been operating in Bangladesh with the government. Today, our main investor is TOTAL through its subsidiary Premier LP Gas Ltd which has set a state-of-the-art LPG import terminal & bottling facility in Sitakunda, Chattogram in 1998. TOTAL Group is committed to expanding its investments in Bangladesh but is facing difficulties in attaining approvals from the energy & mineral resources division, their subsidiary is yet to get the final approval on their operations after more than two years of efforts. An EMRD approval is also pending for LPG export towards neighbouring India and Auto LPG business despite many follow-ups and representation. TOTAL Group has been trying in vain so far to invest in several solar plants through their subsidiary TOTAL EREN (Renewable Energy), and still awaits a decision from the concerned authorities. He said Bangladesh enjoys huge trade surplus with France and stressed on reducing trade imbalance. Bangladesh exports to France in 2018 stood at 2607 million while French exports to Bangladesh stood at 332 million US dollars in 2018 . Bangladesh exports to France in 2018 stood at 2607 million while French exports to Bangladesh stood at 332 million US dollars The bilateral trade reached in 2019 a record level of 3240 Million EUROS, the highest level over the last ten years, but our trade deficit has raised up to 2713 Million EUROS; our exports to Bangladesh (263 million euros) have decreased by 21%, while Bangladesh's exports to France show a 14% increase (2976 million euros). 'Bangladesh is in 2019 our third supplier of RMG and footwear in the world, behind China and Italy, and represents 7.2% of our total imports (ahead of Vietnam with 5.9% and India with 4.4%), Jean-Marin SCHUH said. Bangladesh is also in 2019 our second trade deficit in that sector (2555 million euros), behind China. In the meantime, European member states, through the EU delegation in Bangladesh, initiated with the authorities in 2016 formal discussions, through a forum called The EU-Bangladesh Business Climate Dialogue. The main initial goal was to promote more trade and investment from the EU to Bangladesh. The last meeting held in December 2019 was not very much conclusive and one can wonder if it is worth maintaining working groups when so little progress has been achieved over the last 3 years, in terms of access to the local market, still protected by huge tariffs and taxes. Bangladesh exports to France in 2018 stood at 2607 million while French exports to Bangladesh stood at 332 million US dollars in 2018 . In 2017, Bangladesh exports to France stood at 2471 million while French exports to Bangladesh stood at 191 million US dollars. France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) president Maruf Alam gave the welcome speech. Maruf Alam said that France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce & Industry (CCIFB) was formed in 1996. The main objective of the Chamber is to facilitate, support and develop trade and investment between France and Bangladesh by offering a large range of services to achieve its goal. From January 2013 the CCIFB is the privileged correspondant of presently Business France. The Chamber works in close collaboration with French Embassy and French Economic Department in Bangladesh. France Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) also suggested improvement in business environment to attract local and foreign investment. Bangladesh has made moderate improvement in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking, advancing by eight notches but lagging behind the other South Asian economies except Afghanistan.

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